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On Wednesday, July 22nd, we had a great conversation with Roberto Almeida and Andrew Landy from the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) unit. Over the past few weeks, our health unit has been at the centre of defining the safety protocol and directives businesses are asked to comply with as we moved from lockdown to the recent Phase 3 reopening.
As a community, we have been successful in controlling the spread of the coronavirus and have had no new cases reported since May 18th. Of course, as we move to reopen and extend access to more indoor spaces where it becomes more difficult to maintain physical distancing and some workplaces welcome back staff for the first time since mid-March, the directive for mandatory masks has become one of the 5 steps to help us stay safe.
We have also heard confusion about how to stay safe when it sometimes seem impractical to manage the recommendations.
Our discussion focused on why the directives and recommendations exist - sometimes even when they don't make sense - and what exceptions exist. For example, front-of-house staff who meet with the public are required to wear masks but if back-of-house (eg., kitchen staff) are not exposed to the customers, masks may not be necessary. The issue may be extended to a Ministry of Labour inquiry if staff feel unsafe working together - but this is just one example of how each situation is different.
Roberto and Andrew encouraged all listeners to engage directly with their inspectors for a review of their workplace environment if they have any concerns about safety protocol they should be adopting. For general inquiries, please call 613-966-5500, ext 4 or for inspections, ext. 677.
They also emphasized that their focus is on educating employers regarding protection vs. fining for non-compliance and helping you create policies that make sense.
Ultimately, no business wants to be linked to the first new case in months - so what does this mean for you? Anticipating the situation that will create opportunity for spread and mitigating those risks can be straightforward - or complicated. Get the help you need to define the difference.
Join us now for the conversation (note - this was current as of July 22 and directives may change at any time).